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ISSUE 185 - August 2011
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The Green, Green Grass of Geneseo - Part I

By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer
Roslin, Ontario, Canada

The movie B-17 "Memphis Belle" in one of several passes she made over the weekend.

In a lush, green valley in upstate New York, lies the beautiful grass airfield of Geneseo. Surrounded by fields of corn, canola, assorted farms and country properties, the setting couldn't be more perfect for a summer airshow and the home of "The Greatest Show on Turf."

The static C-119 Flying Boxcar, formerly of the RCAF, in need of some TLC, left.
The C-47 on a quiet morning as the sun rises, right.

Only about a mile or so from the actual town of Geneseo, the airport lies on a quiet, unassuming, country dead-end road. On the field lie a few hangars and an old RCAF C-119 "Flying Boxcar" that has seen better days. It seems like a peaceful and tranquil place to be most evenings where one can hop into the old Piper Cub for a sunset flight on a warm, summer's eve. That is until airshow weekend!

U.S. Army Chinook on static display, left. B-25 Mitchell and the B-17
await a busy day of flying as the sun rises Saturday morning, right.

On a warm weekend in July, the airfield comes alive with all kinds of commotion in preparation for the Geneseo Airshow. From food vendors to aviation memorabilia booths, visiting and participating aircraft, it's a busy, bustling hive of activity with airshow fever abound. Volunteers and members of the 1941 Historical Aircraft Group come together to make the airshow a great experience for everyone in attendance.

The movie B-17 "Memphis Belle" in a nice bottom-side pass, left.
The P-51A "Tuskegee Airmen" Mustang in a nice "banana" pass, right.

During the airshow many aircraft you'll see including the movie B-17 "Memphis Belle," the 1941HAG C-47, an assortment of P-51 Mustangs (including the ever-popular P-51A Red Tail "Tuskegee Airmen") and much more. Aircraft arrive from as far away as Texas to the south and Ontario, Canada to the north. From replica World War I biplanes and triplanes to modern, current, front-line U.S. fighters, there's something there for every type of aviation buff.

This beautiful Fleet Finch arrived for static viewing Saturday morning, left.
A stunning 1949 WACO UPF-7 on static display, right.

Early Saturday morning, as the day heats up, various vendors and participating and visiting aircraft, both, begin to arrive and prepare for the show. The smells, sights and sounds almost give the event the feeling of the old barnstormer days or that of a carnival. Easy going, inviting, stimulating and exciting are words that can describe how one feels as World War II fighters buzz the field and Stearman pilots take to the air with eager passengers, their faces showing a mix of anticipation, trepidation and excitement.

Hard to believe a wide-bodied fighter like this F4U Corsair, "Skyboss," can fly at speeds in excess of 400mph when you look at it from behind, left. The P-51A "Tuskegee Airmen" in a nice, bottom-side pass, right.

Aircraft started to arrive not long after sunrise and continued to arrive throughout the morning. The ill-timed crash of a civilian "V" tailed Beech Bonanza on landing around 10:00am delayed things for a while. Fortunately, everybody walked away and, after an hour of investigation by the FAA, the all clear was given for the event to continue.

Kent Pietsch flying his 1942 Interstate Cadet, in his first performance, with the 'lost' aileron, left, and in another performance with engine shut down, flying the Cadet more like a glider as he comes in to land, right.

Through Saturday and Sunday, assorted performers took to the sky and thrilled airshow spectators of all ages. Kent Pietsch awed crowds with his skilled handling of his bright yellow and red Jelly Belly 1942 Interstate Cadet. Acting like a man who had stolen the aircraft and wasn't an experienced pilot, Pietsch put the airplane through a series of heart-stopping, ground skimming and dust raising manoeuvres.

The P-40 Warhawk, "The Jacky C," showing off her bottom-side in a slow roll, left.
The Dauntless in a nice, top-side view pass, right.

World War II fighters such as the P-51A and three P-51D's took to the air over the weekend, participating in a number of individual passes, the missing man formation and escorting the B-17. In keeping with the same theme, the Commemorative Air Force had their beautiful Curtiss-Wright SB2C Helldiver in attendance, along with their Douglas SBD Dauntless dive-bomber. In addition, a B-25 Mitchell and F4U Corsair "Skyboss" performed an assortment of passes concluding with a beautiful aerobatic display by the P-40 Warhawk.

The Great War Flying Museum's Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter, left, and their S.E.5a, right.

The Great War Flying Museum from Brampton, Ontario made the trip around Lake Ontario to the west to make the airshow with their S.E.5a, Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter, and their two Fokker Dr I Triplanes. Sadly, during their Saturday performance, one of the two Dr I's suffered engine problems and, despite the pilot's best efforts to make it back to the grass strip, the landing gear clipped the corn and the airplane cart wheeled into the corn field. Fortunately, the pilot was not injured but the airplane sustained severe damage.

Next week we'll return to Geneseo for the rest of the airshow that will include noise, speed, nostalgia, and lots of history.

P-51D Mustang "Never Miss" over upstate New York
By Kevin Moore, Contributing Editor & Photographer

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